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I can say as a person who has been in the midwest and interior east only that I have seen my fair share of cities with boarded-up buildings. Now, boarded-up buildings arent all bad, alot of these areas will gentrified in the next 20 years I presume..

-St. Louis, Missouri: Yeah, they are starting to gain people after a half century of losing people but going through on Interstate 70 I did see lots of boarded-up albeit beautiful historic homes.

-Louisville, Kentucky: Not a large area but Chesnut from Mohhammed Ali to 32nd has widely scattered boarded-up homes.

-Columbus, Ohio: North Cleveland Avenue from 11th to Morse road is primarily boarded-up or burnt out. I think I saw that Columbus has 60,000 vacant buildings and I believe it. Its a beautiful town that has a incredible vacancy rate in the inner city

-Omaha has many neighborhoods on the east side that are boarded-up all over. Driving in east Omaha one would presume that the entire city is for sale.
I know 16th street in Omaha prolly has more plywood on it than any street in America.
Note to any Omahans in the forum: The whole city council except for Frank Brown should be booted off before the east Omaha is one big ghostown.

- Lincoln-Larimer, Belzhoover, Braddock and Wilkinsburg, PA: has fallen off the face of the earth I think. Actually, I was in Wilkinsburg and didnt think it was that bad but I was on the westside of Wilkinsburg.


Never been to these but I heard
-Ive heard Buffalo and Cleveland despite the potential we all know they have got have neighborhoods also boarded-up.
 

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I really don't get the question. Do you mean the city with the most abandoned buildings? If you're talking about a big city, it's probably Detroit percentage-wise (and maybe overall). If you're talking percentage-wise for any city it's size Gary comes to mind, as well as a few other small and heavily vacant cities. None of your cities (accept St. Louis) even come close to cracking the top ten. Omaha?! Come on. You do like to put Omaha in everyone of your post somehow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Lmichigan said:
I really don't get the question. Do you mean the city with the most abandoned buildings? If you're talking about a big city, it's probably Detroit percentage-wise (and maybe overall). If you're talking percentage-wise for any city it's size Gary comes to mind, as well as a few other small and heavily vacant cities. None of your cities (accept St. Louis) even come close to cracking the top ten. Omaha?! Come on. You do like to put Omaha in everyone of your post somehow.
Yeah, I have never been to Detroit or Flint I wouldnt know how many boarded-up they have. A city thats gone from nearly 2 million to 900,000 people is gonna have lots of boarded-up buildings.

Omaha does have a ton of boarded-up buildings (drive up north 16th street and thats all youll see), and I think its an important city and I lived in it so I post lots on Omaha.
 

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I don't know any specific cities to rank among the "top" in vacancy, but if you ever ride the Amtrak from Baltimore all the way to New York, I swear, almost every piece of land you pass on the 200 mile trip is nothing but shanty towns with battered rowhomes and factories. I distinctly remember passing through Chester, PA and Philadelphia. Baltimore's remaining wounds are also unbareably obvious when passing through via train. I don't want to sound like the towns/cities as wholes were abandoned, I'm just speaking from the views I personally saw and I know all the cities had their bright spots (even if I couldn't see them from the train.) The NE corridor can be depressing at a glance, but I'm hoping the recovery continues. I'm confident in the recovery of industrial cities. I rode the train Thursday a week ago and the drizzly, cold day didn't help the scenery.
 

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I'm afraid it'll be hard to come up with a definitive answer here, although some cities that have already been mentioned might well be the ones to carry away the title.

There are few boarded-up buildings in my part of the world ... and if they are, they won't be so for long because the real estate market is just so hot. On the other hand, would-be developers may get scared off by a powerful architectural heritage crowd who will demand restoration & reconstruction. ;)

I've seen countless boarded-up buildings during my recent visit to Macon, GA & I've seen plenty of photos of boarded-up buildings in other SE cities. Perfectly handsome and usable buildings right in the heart of downtown, or close to it. :(

The sad thing is, other parts of these cities seem to be thriving. So I reach a tentative conclusion: unless the entire city/area is in decline, is it possible that this sad abandonment is due to sprawl?
 

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You can get maps for all cities showing the percentage of vacant housing units at the census page, summary file 1.
 

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Furiine said:
I don't know any specific cities to rank among the "top" in vacancy, but if you ever ride the Amtrak from Baltimore all the way to New York, I swear, almost every piece of land you pass on the 200 mile trip is nothing but shanty towns with battered rowhomes and factories. I distinctly remember passing through Chester, PA and Philadelphia. Baltimore's remaining wounds are also unbareably obvious when passing through via train. I don't want to sound like the towns/cities as wholes were abandoned, I'm just speaking from the views I personally saw and I know all the cities had their bright spots (even if I couldn't see them from the train.) The NE corridor can be depressing at a glance, but I'm hoping the recovery continues. I'm confident in the recovery of industrial cities. I rode the train Thursday a week ago and the drizzly, cold day didn't help the scenery.
Yea I agree with you. But heres the thing, when youre riding in Amtrak, youre passing through the "ghettos" unfortunately. Not the nice part of town. I hope it doesnt stop you from visiting these cities though.
 

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Vacancy rates don't necessarily reflect "boarded up" buildings. A lot of apartment buildings, even if impeccably maintained, can have high vacancy rates. Brownstown TWP a newer suburb of Detroit had the highest vacancy rate in Wayne County. However, that was due primarily to the amount of new homes and condos going up in that area. I can tell you, there are very few "boarded up" buildings in Brownstown.
 

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Memphis has several areas were boards are more common than windows, but on the bright side some of those are being cleaned up for redevelopment.

On a pure percentage basis, Cairo Illinois by far has the most boarded up and abandoned downtown for a town/city of any size I've ever seen.
 

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I think if you go by rate Camden, Flint, Gary and Detroit are among the most. I've never been to StL though, but I can't imagine the bad parts being more than just isolated parts. That's the thing, some of these cities like Philly and DC and B'more, it's only isolated spots, but the vast majority of the cities aren't bad at all. That can't be said for some of the mentioned cities.

Like places like DC, NYC and Philly have tons of boarded up buildings, tons, but there are cities on here like Camden and Gary whose run down parts in land area could very easily be as big as the non-run down parts which is crazy when I think about it.
 
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